Secondary schools to be re-categorised into three

Moi Educational Centre Grade 8 pupils performing Mali Safi play during the 29th annual Prize Giving Day at Moi Educational Centre. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

More than 10,000 secondary schools in Kenya are set to be recategorised, marking the end of the longstanding national schools status. This move will introduce a new three-tier system aligned with the rollout of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The changes are in preparation for the anticipated admission of the pioneer CBC class, currently in Grade 8, to senior secondary school in 2026. With only 18 months left to the transition, the Education Ministry has begun the process of mapping institutions, which is expected to be completed by next year.

Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang revealed on Wednesday that the traditional categories will be replaced with three new categories: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centres, Humanities and Arts Schools, and Creative Arts and Sports Schools. However, schools are likely to offer a combination of the three streams, allowing students to pursue a broader range of subjects.

The finer details of the anticipated changes are yet to be finalised as education stakeholders deliberated on the anticipated transition to senior school at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development this week.

“We won’t allow this time round…to go through sleepless nights like what happened in JS (Junior Secondary),” Dr Kipsang said.

The overhaul will extend to assessments at the end of Grade 9, which will determine a student’s path among the three new categories. For transition, students will sit a written examination, similar to the KCPE, which, alongside classroom assessment, will guide students towards a specific category of senior school they will join.

“As we reflect on Grade 9 and the type of assessment we will have, let’s keep in mind that the assessment is not for placement but for pathways,” Kipsang said.

Whereas the examination will be critical, Kipsang said it will eliminate merit-based admission system.

However, the finer details of how the final score will be derived has been left to the stakeholders at KICD to give views.

‘‘We have to reflect on the following areas how do we do the assessment, how much of it will be formative and summative will go to the Grade 9 assessment, and how will it affect our children placement,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has announced that the government plans to employ 20,000 teachers to narrow the teacher-student ratio gap.

Speaking at Kolanya Girls’ National School in Busia county on Wednesday, Machogu said the government has recruited more than 50,000 teachers since September 2022.

“This administration has successfully recruited a remarkable 56,750 teachers since taking office and we have secured additional funding to recruit 20,000 more teachers this financial year,” said the CS.

Additional reporting by Mary Imenza